The Children’s ward at the government hospital along Combema road in Kenema is in a very bad state. This building was once funded by EC/SLRRP and implemented by MODCON and then named as the Paediatric ward. It has been in this bad state for several months. The windows of the building are damaged, not enough bedding for the children and almost all the beds in the wards are wooden beds most of them damaged.
The area surrounding the building is very bushy making room for reptiles like snakes, lizard etc. Around the building I saw a dead snake at the time of my visit, when I asked one of the suckling mothers I met at the veranda about the dead snake she told me that the snake was killed last night around 8pm before my arrival at the scene the following morning. The outside toilet near the building is also in bad state and most of the occupants at the hospital use it instead of the toilet around the building. Another suckling mother I met inside the ward pointing to the windows said she brought her child to the hospital for minor illness and now they say the child has developed heavy cold coupled with malaria. She said at night the ward seem as if every body is lying outside because the mosquitoes have a field day every night in the ward. Speaking to the Doctor in charge in his office, Dr. S.C.Jalloh explained to Awoko that the situation is pathetic and he has made several efforts by writing and approaching the Kenema city council for their intervention but up to the time he is talking to the press the efforts have been to no avail. He however promised to continue to add pressure inorder to salvage the situation. In an interview with the health officer coordinator at the Kenema City Council (KCC) Mr. Mohamed Nyallay said the hospital is the Secondary health care unit which is supposed to have been devolved by 2008 but has never been devolved to the council. He disclosed that it is only the primary health care that has been devolved to the council. He said devolution is a gradual process and when it occurs the line ministries will be informed. He explained that according to the statutory instrument the primary health care should be under the District Medical Officer (DMO) while the hospital is under the Matron and the Medical Superintendent and the Chairman of the Kenema District Council (KDC) has been the hospital management board chairman. He stressed that devolution monies come for specific purpose and cannot easily be diverted to other purpose. “I have met once with the doctor at the ward who informed me that he has a document for the council which I promised to collect from him later but I have not been chanced to meet him.”
By Saffa Moriba in Kenema